1. Carol Fishman Cohen CEO and Co-Founder of iRelaunch #080 Marc Miller 33:34

Carol Fishman Cohen presents her view of bringing people (especially women) back into the workplace after a career break and what the importance is of experience in leadership.


Key Takeaways:

[:55] Marc welcomes you to Episode 80 of the Repurpose Your Career podcast and invites you to share this podcast with like-minded souls. Please subscribe, share it on social media, write an honest iTunes review, or tell your neighbors and colleagues.

[1:19] Next week’s show is the Q&A episode, with Mark Anthony Dyson of the Voice of Jobseekers podcast. Together, Marc and Mark will answer listener questions.

[1:29] In this week’s episode, Marc interviews Carol Fishman Cohen, CEO and Co-Founder of IRelaunch. IRelaunch is the leader in career re-entry programming. IRelaunch works directly with nearly 40 Blue Chip companies to develop, pilot, source for, present in, and publicize re-entry internship programs and hiring.

[2:14] Marc welcomes Carol. Carol is the host of 3, 2, 1, Relaunch podcast. Marc feels their audiences intersect, so he invited Carol on the show. Carol reviews how she started iReLaunch, after a career break of 11 years while she raised her family.

[4:08] iReLaunch is the pioneering company ‘in this space’ and Carol feels like the grandmother.

[4:46] iReLaunch provides tools and resources for individuals in all stages of relaunching their career, at companies from over 50 people to over 1,000 people. Companies engage with this pool through mid-career paid internships and direct open hiring, even without a career re-entry program.

[5:33] iReLaunch does this with return-to-work programs, internships, workshopped based or companies that want to hire people who are returning after a career break. They do conferences and events, working with companies individually or in groups, and products like the iReLaunch Road Map, an online product.

[6:08] iReLaunch engages with ReLaunchers directly through iReLaunch Return to Work Conferences, held 22 times at Stanford and Columbia since 2008 with over 6,400 people attending so far. The conferences are promoted through alumni associations. 70% of attendees have graduate degrees. 100% of attendees have bachelor’s degrees.

[7:37] 93% of attendees at these conferences historically have been female, but the most recent conference may have had up to 12% male. As more men take career breaks for family leave, Carol expects to see more men attend.

[8:37] 70% of the people who attend these conferences have had 10 years of work experience before their career breaks. 70% of attendees are interested in returning to full-time jobs. 30% are looking for either an entrepreneurial venture or a reduced hours arrangement.

[9:04] 84% of Millennials are expecting a career break of four weeks or longer at some point, according to Manpower research. Carol gives some detail.

[11:10] People are retiring later, and those in Retirement are interested in unretiring.

[11:43] Originally iReLaunch was focusing solely on women. Now they are focusing on all ReLaunchers. Paid internships are a good way to try out a worker.

[13:15] Carol takes a look at the history of the Relaunch movement and paid internships. Once the program was up and running, companies could see how beneficial it was and how experienced and engaged the new interns are.

[14:50] There has to be a sense of urgency about women in mid-to-senior leadership positions.

[15:37] With the success of company internships for ReLaunchers, Carol looked toward the Technical field for growth. Carol had a STEM Reentry Task Force in mind. The Society of Women Engineers partnered with iReLaunch to support it. The initiative now includes 20 global companies piloting a formal return to work for technical people.

[17:27] One of the missions of iReLaunch is to spotlight success stories, so companies can shape their expectations based on good experiences.

[18:01] People returning to technology after a break of some years have to be willing to throw themselves into continuing education to keep up. This pathway back with some formal updating is a total, viable pathway with as lot of success.

[19:33] The typical age range of people who are reentering with iReLaunch is between 50 and 60. They need to become subject matter experts all over again, reading all the latest thinking in the field and following the top experts. See Episode 72 with Alexander Buschek. Write a whitepaper! Be bold!

[24:45] The vision for iReLaunch: At a future point in time recruiters and employers don’t attach risk to hiring people who are returning from a career break.

[28:01] Wall Street is now seeking programs to get STEM workers back.

[29:35] The caliber of the people who are in these programs is high. Between 50-100% of them are being hired when the program is complete.

[32:23] Check back next week, when Marc and Mark Anthony Dyson will answer your questions.


Mentioned in This Episode:



3, 2, 1, iReLaunch podcast

Drexel Burnham Lambert

Bain Capital

Back on the Career Track: A Guide for Stay-at-Home Moms Who Want to Return to Work, by Carol Fishman Cohen and Vivian Steir Rabin

iReLaunch Road Map

iReLaunch Return to Work Conference



Manpower Group

The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity, by Lynda Gratton & Andrew Scott

How to Get Back to Work After a Career Break. TED talk

DeMystify Podcast

The Gates Foundation

Goldman Sachs

Sara Lee

JP Morgan

Met Life


Credit Suisse

Society of Women Engineers


NBC Universal


CareerPivot.com/Episode-72 with Alexander Buschek

The Unretirement Book: How Baby Boomers are Changing the Way We Think About Work, Community, and the Good Life, by Chris Farrell





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